Parisian Kit essentials are for RedHerring in search of lost time. It is a game of fox & hounds. With the disappearance of Parisian stalwarts such as Old England and Arnys, we corralled a group of Parisian dandies to ferret out where you should shop. Our panel dropped names of bespoke tailors, shoemakers, and hidden gems. In certain circles, each member is known for his exquisite taste on all matters Parisian.
One chalk-stripped fellow rattled off ubiquitous luxury brands. To which another hipster almost choked on his espresso. Wiggling his nose, he retorted: “Too plebeian”. Needless to say, no panel member frequented department stores. As you can see, our panel is spoiled on craftsmanship.
Ironically, Paris is better known for women’s haute couture. Despite the city’s well-heeled reputation, there are Parisian treasures to entice chaps of good standing. So why is the Parisian gents scene so different from other cities?
For starters, our panel agreed that there is no one neighborhood to investigate. Pedigree menswear is scattered about. If you are looking for great street wear, then I would direct you to the Haut Marais. You should know that tailors worth a detour are not at street level. You must have the address.
In my experience, Parisian gents are quite discrete. In general, the French do not discuss their tailors. Nor for that matter, will they babble about where their shirts are made. Cognescenti know. They spy out the notched lapel and the width of the trouser leg. Shirt buffs examine collars. I know one fellow who has a keen eye for pearl buttons. He is so extreme that he works up a sweat by examining their size, and the manner they were sewn to the shirt front. Experts among experts, you might say. As you can appreciate, Parisian aesthetics are a question of style.
Fashion hounds can cite for you the latest trendy brands. Fanatics focus on artisans, who are not household names. For example, if I was in London, I could identify a gents tailor by the cut. Stylish men can easily spot the difference between a suit cut at Edward Sexton or Anderson & Sheppard. Similarly in Paris, aficionados can identify the cut of Camps de Luca from somebody else. So what’s all the fuss? It comes down to details and personal taste.
Some chaps absolutely adore their jackets waisted. It is a hallmark of fine London tailoring. Others prefer the Neapolitan sense of aesthetics. The Italians have come to specialize in soft shoulders. They give a sense of weightlessness to their garments. Parisian tailors however, have borrowed ideas from both traditions. By doing so, they have articulated their own voice. Therefore, it is harder for a layman to quantify as uniquely Parisian. Suits with that certain je ne sais quoi are for the purists at heart.
Next, there is the issue of cost. Start to think of clothes as an investment. Not that English or Italian tailors are inexpensive. They are not. However, Parisian tailors are pricey. I do however, have recommendations to share. They clearly deliver value for money depending on your budget.
My first counsel is to visit Husbands on the rue Manuel. Nicolas, who owns and runs this place, is fashion savvy. He is also quite the gentleman. With spring on the way, he can update your wardrobe with style. His attitude is preppy modern.
My second great discovery is Jean-Emmanuel Moreau. This Parisian gem is just off the rue Marboeuf. You will undoubtedly find his establishment suave. In Jean-Emmanuel’s hands, you will leave with a keen sense of sprezzatura and a pashmina scarf worthy of a prince.
If you fancy bright colors, check out Cifonelli. Hugo Jacomet of the Parisian Gentleman is a big fan. Craft and attention to detail really do matter here. Hugo recently stated: “In the last five years, the scene has changed. Houses such as Cifonelli have had an influx of young customers. They are highly educated about bespoke. I put his down to more mainstream media coverage. A dusty trade has become aspirational again.”
His comments indicate an attitudinal shift among Parisian men. The younger set have started to care again about their appearance. They are unafraid to shop online, follow style blogs, and love Parisian tailors.
Cifonelli is run by Lorenzo and with his cousin Massimo. They have a stylish boutique at street level. Their pret-a-porter is to die for. The apparel is vibrant and contemporary. Their workshop is one floor up and is a tribute to the tailor’s art. Clients have a tendency to prefer lightweight cloths with little structure. The roped shoulder tilted slightly forward is a Cifonelli trademark.
Each coat is cut clean, fitting the chest and waist. Eager to experiment with a more youthful approach to clothing, Lorenzo has come up with designs featuring different pockets, trims and fastenings. These details fascinate the young professional. They clearly make Cifonelli easily recognizable at 100 paces. Whether you like all these bells & whistles is a question of personal taste.
One thing is certain. Here is a straight shooter, no chaser. Perfect for the essential Parisian kit.
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Article Title: Parisian Kit: In Search For Lost Time
Photographs: (1)(3)jeanemmanuelmoreau (2)curated by ES
About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.
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